The Development of Autobiographical Memory  book cover
1st Edition

The Development of Autobiographical Memory

ISBN 9780415649049
Published March 5, 2013 by Psychology Press
288 Pages 68 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Autobiographical memory constitutes an essential part of our personality, giving us the ability to distinguish ourselves as an individual with a past, present and future. This book reveals how the development of a conscious self, an integrated personality and an autobiographical memory are all intertwined, highlighting the parallel development of the brain, memory and personality.

Focusing strongly on developmental aspects of memory and integrating evolutionary and anthropological perspectives, areas of discussion include:

  • why non-human animals lack autobiographical memory
  • development of the speech areas in the brain
  • prenatal and transnatal development of memory
  • autobiographical memory in young children.

This book offers a unique approach through combining both neuroscientfic and social scientific viewpoints, and as such will be of great interest to all those wanting to broaden their knowledge of the development and acquisition of memory and the conscious self.

Table of Contents

Part 1. An Interdisciplinary View of Memory. A New Approach to Viewing Memory. Zones of Convergence Between Different Sciences. Why Other Animals Lack Autobiographical Memory. Part 2. Development of Autobiographical Memory and the Brain. Interdependent Development of Memory and Other Cognitive and Emotional Functions. Part 3. Autobiographical Memory: A Lifelong Developmental Task. Development of Learning and Memory: The Prenatal Period and the First Months of Life. The First Quantum Leap in Memory Development: The Nine Months’ Revolution. The Second Quantum Leap in Memory Development: Language. Exploring Autobiographical Memory in Young Children. Autobiographical Memory: A Continuity in Transformation. The Age at Which Memory Occurs: Results of an Interdisciplinary Research Project on Remembering and Memory. A Formative Theory of Memory Development. Memory at Advanced Ages. Autobiographical Memory: A Biocultural Relay Between the Individual and the Environment.

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Hans J. Markowitsch is Professor of Physiological Psychology and Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research at Bielefeld University, Germany.

Harald Welzer is Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Memory Research in Essen and Research Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Witten/Herdecke. He also teaches at the University of Hannover and at Emory University Atlanta.


"The Development of Autobiographical Memory is at an appropriate level for reading in graduate seminars. The broad and interdisciplinary coverage would lend itself to discussion, and students can evaluate and debate whether the authors’ descriptions are fact or argument. The book is also appropriate for researchers in areas of brain, memory, language, cognition, and social development." – Marie T. Balaban in PsycCRITIQUES

"This brilliant new integrative account of human memory comprehensively traces the emergence of autobiographical memory in ontogeny via brain development and its essential social-cultural milieu of human communication and language. In the authors' view autobiographical memory is critical to cognition, identity, self, and community. Their formative ontogeny approach provides new findings and unique insights on human memory over the lifespan that will be of interest to experts and newcomers to the area alike." - Katherine Nelson, Distinguished Professor of Psychology Emerita, City University of New York, USA

"This fascinating book performs an important purpose: it places classical theories of human autobiographical memory in the wider, and more realistic, context of evolution, development and enculturation, and treats the role of enculturation in more detail than any previous text. It should attract a wide audience of professionals in various disciplines concerned with the distinctively human aspects of memory, from neurobiology to the social sciences and humanities." - Merlin Donald, Queen's University, Ontario, Canada